You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.
You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.
But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.
Amy Hall comments:
The arguments for slavery were the same as the arguments now for abortion: Human beings are only instrumentally valuable. Some people are worth less than others because they lack particular qualities that I have. Therefore, my desires trump their rights.Read the rest.
The arguments against slavery were the same as the arguments now against abortion: All human beings are intrinsically valuable and have equal natural rights, regardless of their characteristics.
The arguments are the same then and now because the two options presenting themselves to us haven’t changed and won’t ever change. Slavery and abortion aren’t just random, unconnected controversial issues, they’re rooted in our view of human beings, and they illustrate the two possible directions in which our country can go as we move forward. Will we embrace intrinsic human value or instrumental human value?
Whatever we decide as a nation, don’t think for a moment that the principle we settle on will only be applied to abortion.